Isn't the first 100 days of a president's term, even when re-elected, supposed to be a honeymoon where everything goes right? This doesn't seem to be happening this time around. SS Reform looks to be a tough fight, moderate Republicans are being scared, and Dems are standing up more than they did last summer (compare Condoleeza's confirmation with Porter Goss's). More importantly, polls have only shown decline for Bush in his job approval and all particular issues (such as a plurality against SS reform) since election day. Any of you have theories why?
Increasing polarization of our culture may account for that (it seems so easy and convenient for everyone to forget that Reagan and Nixon were elected by 50 states to 1 - Republicans forget because it makes GWB look less stellar, and Democrats forget because they can't imagine their home territories voting for Reagan and Nixon*). Our culture seems much more well defined and certain in their political selections, and less likely to be swayed by non-partisan factors (like the start of a new term or the home state of a VP). If this is true though, shouldn't we be seeing a reversal in the decline of party-affiliation rates on surveys that's been happening since the 60's? I know of no evidence pointing that out.
*A recent episode of West Wing amused me when they mentioned attendance at a NASCAR race as key for red state support. I'm always amused when West Wing's history/politics is contradicted by their relationship to what they have stated before (such as they seem fine mentioned past president's as late as Johnson, but how does that match up with the non-leap year election cycle?). In this case, the "red and blue" state paradigm was only really pushed after the 2000 elections with a narrowly split electoral map. That it's held up is a sign that we are more partisan than usual, as in you can always expect NY or Arkansas to vote their certain ways. In our past history (and including a world where Jed Bartlett is elected by a landslide of 300 EV including Texas), since these states can actually switch sides a decent amount of time, such terms as "red state" would not be in common parlance.